Much like the road transport business as a whole, the supply chains for waste products are invisible to us. Everyone is aware of the side lifter trucks making weekly visits to the roadside on our street, but this is the limit of many people’s knowledge.
In fact, the supply chain can be as complex, and as competitive as those in which the rest of the trucking industry compete. Productivity is king and specialist equipment, often expensive, can get a contract over the line.
One such operator in South Australia is part of this supply chain and building its fleet on specialist equipment and an acute awareness of getting the job done right and in the most efficient manner possible. Bettatrans have only been in business for a few years, but are already an integral part of the Adelaide waste disposal scene.
The company has recently invested in state of the art trailers from Azmeb, a Queensland trailer builder which specialises in side tippers specifically designed to handle waste products. These have been working on a contract with waste industry giant, Visy.
Large amounts of recycling waste needs to be moved around at night. In the case of the truck Diesel was visiting in Adelaide, the truck hauls recycling from Clifton to Wingfield where it goes to be processed. This is a typical task in the waste industry, moving waste from the transfer station in the suburbs to the processing plant, in a major industrial area.
A fast and efficient tarping system sees turn around times minimised, Bettatrans have managed to get the time from the truck pulling in to a site to the the truck leaving down to one minute. The whole process is automated on the Azmeb trailers to ensure the trailer unloading process is done in the right order safely and efficiently.
The unloading site is simply a large shed in which the waste is dumped and then handled by front loaders Visy used to fit floor conveyors in its sites, but has moved away from them. Now processing plant hoppers are set higher above the ground. The trailers can be unloaded in a number of ways to suit the site at which they are delivering.
The trucks are all fitted with on board weighing systems. These are not needed normally, as recycling waste tends to be lighter than general waste. However, when the trucks are working on general waste the load gets close to maximum GCM.
The truck in question is a recent acquisition and will work on the night shift. It will handle six or seven loads each night. The journey from transfer station to processing plant takes thirty minutes so loading and unloading time need to be minimised to ensure productivity.
Bettatrans cover a wide area of the more populated parts of South Australia, including the city of Adelaide, and stretching from Gawler, in the North, to Victor Harbour, in the South, and across to Murray Bridge in the East.
The operation works as a contractor to a number of waste operators including Visy, Veolia, TPI and EcoBins, covering the major waste operations in Adelaide.
“We haven’t got a lot of our own customers, just a few who ring us now and then,” says Chris Cunningham, Director of Bettatrans. “We set the business up to subcontract to the big waste operators. Most of the trucks in the fleet are rigids with the semi used for the large transfer between sites.
“I’ve been involved in Bettatrans for three and a half years, but the business has been going for 16 years. When I took over it had seven trucks, but the recycling business is gradually growing. Even the general waste we are taking to the dumps, 80 per cent of that is recycling.
“We have to come up with the most efficient way to collect the customers material. Obviously, they are always after the dollar, like every big company. You just have to be on your toes and be the most efficient operators, with the most fuel efficient set-up.”